Friday, February 24, 2012


I needed to take a few days to compose myself before writing this. It's sad to say, but I have half-written this in my head months before my best girl passed away. She was sick for a long time, but we kept fighting. We kept paying trained professionals to run tests and diagnose her ailments. It seemed as though it was something different each time she would go in for a check-up. But we kept fighting. The last half of her life with me was a bumpy road, to say the least. She would shake and shit at the drop of a hat. And she hated the Buffalo winters. Some cold days she would almost refuse to leave her home. But we fought. We were a good team, she and I. But at one point she had had enough. We said our goodbyes and then she was gone. Forever. It's going to be hard to go on without her, but I will push on. It's what she'd want me to do.

Farewell, Blue Lady. I will miss you.

When I first met you, you reminded me of my very first teenage love. You were so similar, sometimes I thought I was still inside her when I was inside you. I know you knew. I know you knew I was thinking about that other girl. But you didn't seem to mind. You would drive me around my old stomping grounds and play Nirvana and all the rest of the great grunge music I love just like she used to do. We would drive around and I would reminisce about the old days. I will miss those rides we used to take. Remember how everyone thought you were the police? It was usually at night when they couldn't see you very well, but people would always slow down because they just weren't quite sure. Then we'd go flying past and I bet they felt like idiots! Good times. But then you started to get old and you started to get sick. The first time I noticed was when you refused to drive the speed limit on the highway. You never had any problems with it before, then suddenly you would shake and grunt and sputter. Then you refused to warm to my touch. I would talk to you and push your your buttons just the way I always did, but nothing would work. I would hydrate you and feed you, but still nothing. I got used to providing enough heat for both of us.

The trips to get tests done and have procedures completed just got to be too much. For both of us. I think you had given up way before I did, but I just didn't hear you. I just didn't want to let you go. But now you're in a better place. The last ride we took together was a bitter sweet one. I was glad it was a mild winter day and it wasn't too cold for you. And you knew where we were going. But you didn't say a word and you didn't complain. You just drove silently. I was probably more nervous than you were! But in the end everything worked out, didn't it? We said our goodbyes and off you went. I swore I wouldn't cry. And I won't. I swear i won't!

You'll be happy for me. I found someone new. I know you always wanted to be with someone younger than you. I didn't want to hear it when we were still together, but I can see where you were coming from now! She's so smooth and quiet. She's doesn't know all my eccentricities like you did, but she'll learn. We'll be good together. I hope you don't mind that I call her my new Blue Lady. If you're watching over me as I hope you are, take a look at a picture I took of my new girl:

Farewell, Blue Lady. I will miss you.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

New Car Anxiety

I'm going to look at new (to me) used cars. The Blue Lady (my 2001 Mercury Sable) didn't pass her inspection last month and she's not worth the $600+ it will cost to repair her.

It's time to put her down.

I'm excited to have a car of my own again and I'm sure my wife would love having her car back again. But I'm nervous. If you've read any of my blog posts in the past year you know that I am not in the best financial situation. A new car (even a used one) means another monthly bill. Sure, I'll use a bit of my tax refund as a down payment and I'll trade in The Blue Lady to cut down on what the new car will cost, but I'm still going to have to pay every month for it.

The other thing is I haven't talked to my boss in over a month. Strike that. My boss hasn't spoken to me in over a month. I've sent her emails but she doesn't respond or answer my questions. She sends emails to my coworkers and I, but she never responds to MY emails. This stresses me out. Is she purposely avoiding my questions? Is she going to let me go? Are my hours going to be cut even more? Is this all in my head? Am I just being pessimistic?

If I lose my job I am SCREWED. Especially if I accrue another bill.

Oh my God I hate being a grown up.

So suffice it to say I'm a bit stressed. I have some anxiety going on over here.

Some good news would be VERY welcome right about now.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Coffee Scents and Caffeine Dreams

The sense of smell is a powerful thing, isn't it?
Just a small whiff of something can bring you right back to another place.

I walked past the coffee beans in the market two days ago and I was immediately transported back to my days as a barista. I remembered the evenings of grinding coffee and filling coffee filters and drinking copious amounts of the evil stuff. At one coffeehouse in particular one of the end-of-shift duties was to grind the beans into portion-controlled bags to make it easier for the next shift to quickly brew coffee. The house blend was a combination of Mexican and Colombian beans. This blend made for the perfect cup of coffee in my opinion. It was not too bitter that you needed to cut it with hot water or milk, but it was also strong enough that you knew what you were drinking. It was smooth and strong. Kinda like me.

I hadn't thought about working at the coffeehouse in years. I had almost forgotten about it. It was a tiny little place in shopping mall that time forgot, tucked between towering office buildings. The owner used to roast the beans right in the shop. You could smell the aromas for blocks and blocks.

Just when I thought I was finished with the scent-induced flashbacks, I was hit again. Yesterday I picked my wife up from the caffe and as soon as she sat in the car, I was sent back to my days behind the bar. Certain places have certain scents, am I right? This smell was undeniable. If it was the other way around and she had picked me up somewhere, I still would have known where she had been for the last three hours. I still would have remembered all of the cafe mochas I made, topped with home-made whipped cream. I still would have thought about that one customer who used to spend hours in the caffe and who never drank coffee. He only ever wanted fresh brewed ice tea. He would spend afternoons there conducting business and flirting with the female baristas I worked with. Some weekend evenings he would bring his dates to the caffe just to show off that everyone knew him and that he got his drinks for free. Then he would spend the rest of the evening talking the poor girl's ear off.

I have never experienced any other smells that reminded me of any other past jobs before. Maybe it's just coffee that does that to me. Maybe because I worked in so many coffee shops and cafes and coffeehouses, the caffeine scents just stick with me. I rarely visit coffee shops any more. After I lost my last barista gig, I stopped going. It was too hard for me. I know I can do so much better than who ever is behind the counter. I know I could create a better quality product and I know I could create a better atmosphere for the customers.

Any time I visit a locally owned shop, I know for a fact I could do it all better. I also stopped drinking coffee, so I really have no reason to step foot into a cafe. Maybe that's why coffee sets off my flashbacks like it does. I have been separated from it for so long that it's calling me back. It misses me. And if I'm honest, I miss it too.